THE “MIDDLE WIFE”
(Note: This is one of my all-time favorites)
I’ve been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself, but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own second grade classroom a few years back.
When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and usually show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it in to school and talk about it, they’re welcome.
Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater.
She holds up a snapshot of an infant: “This is Luke, my baby brother, and I’m going to tell you about his birthday.”
“First, Mom and Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom’s stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord.”
She’s standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I’m trying not to laugh and wishing I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement.
“Then, about two Saturdays ago, my mom starts saying and going, ‘Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh!'” Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. “She walked around the house for, like an hour, ‘Oh, oh, oh!'” (Now this kid is doing a hysterical duck walk and groaning.)
“My dad called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn’t have a sign on the car like the Domino’s man. They got my mom to lie down in bed like this.” (Then Erica lies down with her back against the wall.)
“And then, pop! My Mom had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!” (This kid has her legs spread with her little hands miming water flowing away. It was too much!)
“Then the middle wife starts saying ‘Push, push” and “Breathe, breathe. They started counting, but never even got past ten. Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff that they all said it was from Mom’s play-center (placenta) so there must be a lot of toys inside there. When he got out, the middle wife spanked him for crawling up in there.”
Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat. I’m sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, when it’s show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder, just in case another “Middle Wife” comes along.